Kingdom Hearts does not belong to me; just this messed up dream trying to tell me how sad it all is...

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Real or Not?

I've spent the last fifteen of my lifetimes trying to save Kairi.

In the first one, she died from appendicitis; I didn't make it to the hospital in time. The second, she was swimming and got hit by a boat and dragged under; I jumped in but couldn't pull her out before her hair got tangled in the propeller and she drowned. In the third, she died in childbirth and the last thing she saw was our newborn looking back at her with equally as dying blue eyes; I honestly couldn't do anything in that one but help stop the bleeding. It didn't work. In the fourth, well, she lived to see both of our children grow up to being teenagers and then she decided it was okay to die. Kairi shot herself in the head with a hunting rifle that belonged to you, Riku, and I was unable to convince her that she had a reason to live. The last lifetime, she simply stopped breathing and died peacefully in my arms in her sleep. I tried to wake her up then… but… she never woke up…

In each lifetime, after Kairi's died, I walk with you to the bar, or sometimes I end up walking you and the kids to the beach. Somehow we always find some barstools and sit down on them and then you always start asking me questions. They're always the same: did you love her, what's going to happen now, are you okay. But you always end with the exact same question though, like in each lifetime you have to ask it. Each time, you ask me if I'd start over. I always know what your warning will be.

"Even if you're in a tremendous amount of pain, Sora, even if it kills you inside or you want to die because of what happens, would you still start over? Even if she doesn't love you back or if she dies again, would you still love her?"

I've said yes every time.

Each time I get to watch her die.

Every single time, I still love her. Even when she gives up, I still love her.

What's love anyway? A feeling in the heart when the body decides, "Oh, hey, that person's hot, let's go make babies?" or something? I personally believe it's something deeper, something a little more precious. People run around saying that they're in love when all they want to do is have sex and kiss and then suddenly, they decide they're not in love anymore. Other people just watch from the background and love that person from afar, knowing that they can never have them.

I'm not either of those people, Riku. I'm someone who loves once and loves deep, even when the person I love doesn't love me back. I'm guess I'm a kind of a fool that way, to be honest. I still love Kairi even after she's died so many times.

Hmm? I only said five lifetimes? Ha, so you were listening. To be honest, I thought you were just nodding your head and drinking, Riku. So you want to know what happened in some of the other ones? Well, some of those lifetimes aren't all that interesting or she died in a really tragic way. … Yeah, even worse than being pulled down by a boat propeller. I don't like talking about it.

No, I'm not quite drunk yet. Hmph, so you don't believe me? Alright, lemme polish this one off and I'll tell you what happened in one of them. Ah, man, no matter how many times I end up here, the paopu cordial always tastes the same. Sweet and rich and just right for an aching heart… Where was I? Oh yeah. In more than one of the lifetimes, you ended up with her, Riku.

What's with that look on your face? You think I didn't know you loved her? Well, yes I did, mister; you're not very good at hiding it. Anyway, in that particular lifetime I decided to step back and see that she got her happy ending from someone else. It ended up being you, Riku, and you tried your best to make her happy. But you guys didn't have kids, which was pretty sad since you wanted them so badly.

But something happened to her anyway. Yeah, she did die in this lifetime, Riku, I'm sorry. I held your hand throughout the entire funeral and I helped you put the wreath of paopu blossoms inside of the grave. … How she died? She jumped off of a bridge and drowned when she was very old. Her head smacked against one of the boards and well... she never made it back up.

I told you, that was another lifetime. It didn't happen in this one. What happens in this lifetime doesn't affect the other ones at all. I get a fresh start in each one, and technically so do you, I guess. … Wait, you want to know what happened in that one? The one I was just talking about?

… Hm… why she died… Well… I didn't tell you in that lifetime but since we're in a new one, I guess I can tell you now. You won't remember it anyway, it'll be nothing but the faintest memory for you when we start over again. Alright, drink up and I'll start the story.

You see, Kairi was very sad that you guys couldn't have kids. She blamed herself. She said she was the problem. And well, by the time she said she figured it out, it was too late. She was too old to have children anymore. In fact... she told me that the day she died: I was with her the day that she drowned. Hey, Riku, knock it off, there wasn't anything I could do, let go! Geez! I told you, no matter how much I try, I can never save Kairi, didn't I? No need to get grabby.

… This is upsetting you, I should stop. Go on? You're sure? Alright, if you say so… anyway. We were walking on the little play island and she kept looking up at some kids that were making a sandcastle on the second island, you know the one that has the paopu tree on it? They were making their castle there. She kept looking at them and she kept rubbing her eyes.

She couldn't stop crying.

So all of a sudden, Kairi turned to me and hugged me close. I was really startled by it, since I stepped back in this lifetime. In fact, it was one of the few lifetimes that Kairi, you, and I lived to old age... But anyway, I digress. So I hugged her back and I told her it was okay and it was no one's fault that you guys didn't have kids. … She told me that that wasn't why she hugged me. Being your best friend, I immediately let go of her.

Kairi said… something that would have broken your heart in that lifetime, so I never said anything. Do… do you still want to hear it? Yeah, I figured you would. She said: "Sora, if I had married you, I think I would have been happier." … I told her about the lifetimes then. I told her about all the times she had died and how this was just one of the newest ones. She didn't believe me at first… I'm not sure what made her believe me. Maybe it was because... well... I described them so well. I told her everything that had ever happened to her and for every single one where she ended up dying because of an injury, Kairi would look down at a different part of herself and find a tiny mark.

You see, scars carry over. I have plenty of scars myself. Maybe that's why she believed me.

Kairi asked me one last question before she jumped off the bridge. "Sora, was I happy in those lifetimes?" I had to tell her that she was, right up to the point she died. Even in the one that she committed suicide, she only died because she thought she was done and wanted to die peacefully as my wife. I don't know why Kairi thought I was going to leave her in that lifetime. She was never depressed, but she wasn't all that there in that lifetime... Maybe she could remember the lifetimes where I left her behind... so that she could be happy without me... Her smile was always the most beautiful when she was at my side... but I've left her behind so many times... There are so many lifetimes where I stepped back and tried to give her a happy ending, that one included.

But in the one she was your wife, anyway, Kairi smiled at me and took my hand.

"I'm jealous," she said. She sounded a little sad then… "I'm jealous of those Kairi's, because they got something I didn't. I'm glad… that they were happy." And then she let go of my hand. I told her that she wasn't my wife in this lifetime and that she couldn't do that. Kairi laughed at me and said that it was just holding my hand. To stop... being such a baby...

I should stop, Riku. … Please don't cry anymore. This never happened technically. Hey, barkeep, can I get one of those dishtowels? Alright, thanks. Here, Riku, wipe your eyes. You're welcome. … Riku… you… still want to hear this? It only gets worse from here. You look scared. … Alright, I'll tell you.

Kairi started walking on the bridge to the paopu tree, she said that she wanted to share one with me. I grabbed her hand and turned her around. I… I told her that I love her and that I've always loved her but that in this lifetime, she belonged to you. Kairi… started to cry. She said that she had been waiting this whole time to hear that and asked me why I had said it when she was married to you and in love with you and it wasn't fair that I got to live all these different lifetimes when she would only ever have the one.

She asked me if I had ever had children with her in those lifetimes; I didn't lie to her. I said yes.

I asked her why she was so unhappy with you. I figured… it wasn't just the kids. I mean, in some of our lifetimes together, we didn't have children even though we wanted to. Kairi had just been happy to have us two, Riku, she had been totally fine with just running around with us and after us. It had bothered her a little but not enough to cry like she was doing in that lifetime. But in that one… she said that even though she loved you, you weren't… me. I told her to be happy, that I had made my choices in this lifetime for her to be happy. … She said she would have been happier with me even if she died.

That was the last thing Kairi said before she jumped off of the bridge.

… So I want to ask you again, Riku. What's love? Why do people die for the ones they love? … She died so many times for love. It hurts going on, because I know that no matter what I do in those lifetimes, she'll always die. … Fuck, why am I telling you this one? Why... I've tried to stop the cycle. I've tried a thousand different ways to change it. I even committed suicide in one of my lifetimes. Right before she ever had the chance to die. … I was fourteen. For some reason, I didn't fade away in that lifetime. I had to watch all the way til Kairi died.

I watched you guys at my funeral. Kairi cried the hardest and you fought to get me out of the coffin. Both of you said that I wasn't dead and to get me out of there before they buried me alive. … My dad grabbed your hand, Riku, and put it on my neck and forced you to feel that I didn't have a pulse. Kairi put her hand on my mouth and felt that I didn't have a breath. … You guys let them bury me then and then everyone asked you why I had died. That if we were such good friends, why had I died and why you guys didn't tell anyone I was depressed.

They didn't believe you guys when you said I wasn't depressed. That I had been smiling when I died. You two committed suicide right after my funeral; you just couldn't take the insinuations that you guys failed to keep me alive. … Heh… "I don't know what's worse, having Kairi die or you die?" Thanks, Riku, I knew we were friends for some reason. Listen, you have to know something before I leave tonight.

You remember how today was Kairi's funeral? How peaceful it was and how we both said that we'd never forget her? ... I know she was your girlfriend this time around, Riku, and it hurt you the most. But you have to listen. Even if the baby died and Kairi died with it, you have to listen to me. Just one last drink and then I have to go to bed. Midnight's coming, you see. ... What's so important about midnight, you said?

… When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'm going to be fourteen again. You'll be fifteen and Kairi'll still be thirteen. It'll be a few weeks before her fourteenth birthday. It happens every single time after Kairi's funeral. One day after her funeral is all I get before this lifetime ends and the next starts up. It always starts at the exact point: a few weeks before her fourteenth birthday. Before everything started between us. So I'll ask one more time, Riku, while you're still thinking about it. What's love? Why does it hurt so much? Why do people leave the ones they love when they should know that the only reason that person is happy is because of them? I love Kairi. I've had a lot of time to think about these questions.

In the end, I still love her. That's all I really know and why I've tried over so many lifetimes to give her the happiness she once gave me. It wasn't even that long that she gave me that happiness. Maybe I'm just crazy. I don't know if this is real or not. I don't think I want to know. ... You want to know something funny? I've thought about killing myself on the day after the funeral. I have, actually, to try to stop the cycle. I woke up the next morning with a bleeding temple but I was fourteen.

... I thought I told you that scars carry over. The blood was from me shooting myself in the head, Riku. But somehow the blood from that lifetime carried over to the next one. ... Why did I do it? Because I love her. Because I wanted her suffering to end. In each lifetime, Kairi suffers somehow. Sometimes it's from not being able to have a baby, sometimes she gets cancer and dies in the hospital begging for enough medicine to dull the pain so she can sleep, and sometimes it's because she... got... raped... I killed the son of a bitch who did it and even though it didn't happen this time, it still pisses me off... I wish I had given him a worse death than he actually got...!

Yeah, alright, I'm fine.

I'm calming down now.

Like I was... saying Kairi suffers in each lifetime. No matter what happens, the details never change. The big stuff changes. The way she actually dies changes. The events in our lives change. But the details don't. ... I can recite today's winning lottery ticket perfectly. I've lived past this day plenty of times to memorize every single number up to sixty years from now. Today's is 64-789-4042. Yup, Destiny Lotto, that's the one. Oh, look, they're playing it right now on the TV behind the barkeep. Hey, can you move a bit? I want to see the numbers.

... You look really shocked, Riku. Scared even. Did you think I was joking this whole time? Mm, that'd be a really messed up joke. So... you want me to keep going? Alright, I'll prove it to you. On your left wrist there's a long white scar from the lifetime where you jumped off of a boat to save Kairi from drowning and you scraped your arm against the bottom. You got tetanus from the nail that gave you that scar and we saved her, by the way. She didn't die that time from drowning. ... You don't believe me? Look under your watch. Ahh... now he sees it! You've never noticed it before? Well, scars carry over. I've told you that like three times this time around.

Hmm? How many times have I told you this story? I've lost count to be honest. We've even bet on it and the bet carried over. You see, once you told me that I was a liar and fucked up for making up such a crazy story when our best friend had just died and stuff like that. I got mad at you and bet you a beer that I was right. If I was wrong, you'd get a beer the next day. If I was right, I would be getting a soda from you when the new lifetime started. I was right and that new lifetime started with you taking Kairi and I to the cafe on Main Street and buying us both sodas.

You remembered, Riku. That's the scary part; you actually remembered the bet even though it was from the previous lifetime. I sometimes end up asking Kairi what she remembers from the other lifetimes. Secretly, you know, disguising it as what she remembers from when she was little. ... She remembers, Riku. Remember that I said she suffers in each of the new lifetimes. She remembers the events as dreams... or nightmares. Why do you think I try to change it every single time? Why do you think I try to make her happy each time?

Man, I'm drunk. It's nice being drunk, cause I can babble on and on and everyone just thinks I'm joking. I'm not. That's the part no one understands. To be honest, I hate the lifetimes where Kairi doesn't live to twenty one, because I can't drink to forget it... I can't forget that she's suffering...

... Will I try again in the next lifetime? What, with Kairi? ... Oh, Riku... you know I can't do that. I wish I could. But how could I take what little happiness that she actually gets? I'll explain it to you: if you get a certain amount of happiness in your life but if it's at the cost of someone you love with all of your heart and soul, could you still find it within you to take their happiness? I can't. I've never had the heart to do that to her because I'd rather her be happy than me. You see, her happiness... that's what's important to me. I'd rather have her smile than be miserable at my side. Maybe I'm just a fool...

Oh, it's almost midnight. Alright, time for me to go to bed and get ready. Goodnight, Riku. I'll see you tomorrow... or not. Whatever happens in the next lifetime.